This is a 3D photographic model of the squatted street I lived in for 15 years. Its name comes from a Hackney Gazette headline calling my neighbourhood 'The Ghetto' and goes on to describe my home; “The neighbourhood is a crime-ridden derelict ghetto, a cancer- a blot on the landscape. Why would people want to live there anyway?” me and over 100 others, that's who. This work is on permanent display at the Museum of London
These portraits were taken between 1997 and 1999, when I traveled and lived in a double-decker bus in England and Europe. In these photographs I set out to not only document the life and times of my friends and fellow travelers but to give them dignity and show a rich and beautiful lifestyle.
This series of photographs was taken in my street in Hackney, 1997. Myself and the residents who made up this community were fighting eviction as squatters. The title of the series comes from the wording used in our eviction orders. The postures and gestures reference Vermeer's paintings and set out to give status and dignity to our community.
This series of photographs was taken at the end of the last century. They show Hackney's post industrial landscape before the Olympics arrived in town. The images make reference to the Pre-raphaelite paintings giving a sense of beauty and narrative to a maligned and overlooked place and culture.
This series of images depicts the folklore and myths that have built up around my community and surroundings in Hackney over the past twenty-five years. The photographs reference historical tableaux paintings to create striking mythical images which celebrate life by transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.
This is a magical film. It weaves the memories of people who grew up in east London and have lived on the estate since it opened into a silvery thread of meaning illuminated by dramatisations of their experiences filmed in the aged, but dignified, Woodberry Down buildings and public spaces.
This series of tableaux photographs was inspired by Thomas Hardy and the way he interwove newspaper articles from his local paper into his novels. Likewise, I have interwoven the headlines from the Hackney Gazette with classical paintings to produce images that create a lasting social commentary.
In Flashback I've blurred the boundaries between fine art practice and documentary by re-examining the history of London using key artefacts from the Museum of London’s collections which illustrate key moments in the history of London. For example, sets such as the 1920’s Selfridges lift and the 17th century Newgate prison cell and costumes such as the 18th century city merchant and a 1950’s nippy waitress outfit. These were then interwoven with people from the wider museum community, such as local schoolchildren, a representative of the Lesbian and Gay cross gender community, board members, museum employees and artisans. By combining and mixing up these three elements I have created unique and surprising portraits, which steal from different times and fashions. This disorientates the viewer by creating a visual jigsaw puzzle, challenging them to make sense of the images, which are clearly at odds with what one expects from period portraits.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is inspired by Shakespeare’s play and the paintings of Romantic artist Henry Fuseli. This contemporary reworking of the play is set in Hackney, East London and features local people and communities including samba dancers, pearly kings and queens, a thrash metal band and a pole dancer. Taking key moments from the play, I have distilled Shakespeare’s work into a series of images which weave together contemporary city life with that of the celebrated tale of love and illusion. This series of nine works was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to celebrate their 50th birthday season.
Punch Professors in England features contemporary Punch practitioners, known since Victorian times as ‘Professors', who for generations have brought the story of Punch and Judy to life with their wit and personality. Specially commissioned for Mr Punch’s 350th birthday celebrations by the V&A's Museum of Childhood, the portraits show each Professor alongside their booth, expressing the highly individual approaches each of them have to their performance.
Many of the buildings I have photographed are monuments to this industrial past, showing us the fingerprints of working lives and the products that these endveours have created and from them a way of life and culture. I have always been attracted to these shrines from a disappearing world, a world my grandfather was meshed too, with his engineering company in Birmingham. A world I have explored through photography in Hackney Wick, where the industrial landscape became a playground for the dispossessed, and is now reincarnated as an Olympic wonderland.
All these elements have aligned themselves in this photographic essay, connecting my history to my country’s and Birmingham to Hackney. In the same way Alexander Parkes of Birmingham invented Parkesine, the base material of my film and took it to Hackney Wick to be mass-produced, I now take my pinhole photography back in time to Birmingham, to illuminate and document this very special place.